By Darwin Holmstrom
“Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his short story “The Rich Boy.” “They are different from you and me.”Maybe old F. Scott was right.
In 2015 neuroscientist Michael Varnum and his colleagues at Arizona State University conducted a brain-imaging study and found people who are higher in socioeconomic status have diminished neural responses to others’ pain, suggesting that empathy is reduced as incomes rise. David Icke believes this is because the very rich are genetically modified descendants of reptilian space aliens. That would explain why Hillary Clinton kept unhinging her jaw while debating Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primaries, but most-likely something other than being the descendants of three-foot-tall grey-skinned humanoids from Zeta 1 Reticula motivates their behavior. Perhaps the environment in which the very rich live makes them lack compassion for their fellow humans. Peasants have to rely on their communities for support, and they return that support, nurturing an atmosphere of compassion. The very rich rely on their wealth to solve their problems; they ignore their fellow humans because they can afford to ignore their fellow humans.
Whatever the reason, the very rich, an inbred group that comprises a ruling elite, operates outside the moral and legal bounds governing us mere peasants. They will destroy entire nations, killing hundreds of thousands and turning millions more into refugees, simply to gain access to lands for pipelines and shipping ports that will help them maintain their unimaginable wealth. They behave like a pox on humanity. And not just a garden-variety pox like the French pox, but an especially virulent pox generating weeping chancres and gangrenous string warts, a pox only contracted by molesting farm animals. The North Dakota pox.
The willingness of the very rich to start wars that will destroy the lives of millions as part of mundane business transactions indicates judgment based on criteria that us peasants can’t hope to comprehend. We assign different values to things like death and suffering, values that tend to be counterproductive to important considerations like profit margins and quarterly stock dividends. The very rich, not so much. Things that don’t translate into numbers on spreadsheets like pain and misery aren’t part of their equation. They live by a moral code as alien to us peasants as the deleted scenes in Kubrik’s film Eyes Wide Shut. The ruling elite treats the peasantry like livestock, useful only as cannon fodder to help achieve political and economic goals. The main thing separating humans from the rest of the livestock is that language—or at least the rudimentary capacity for abstract thought—makes managing human livestock marginally more difficult than managing a swine herd on a factory farm.
“The willingness of the very rich to start wars that will destroy the lives of millions as part of mundane business transactions indicates judgment based on criteria that us peasants can’t hope to comprehend…”
Marginally more difficult, but still manageable: the ruling elite has always kept the peasantry livestock more-or-less under complete control. They could sell us any war, any benefit for the very rich, any policy that went against our self-interest, simply by instructing their wholly-owned corporate media to spew a few lines of carefully-crafted propaganda over the deafening noise of cable news. But today it’s starting to get a bit trickier to sell the agenda of the very rich. Many of us, maybe most, still swallow the lies piped into our reptilian brains stems via the video spike of television news, but an increasing number of us are spitting that propaganda back out. And our numbers grow every day. The ruling elite can’t quite comprehend the concept of an awakening peasantry. They’re more comfortable believing their own P.R., believing that the peasants are just dumb animals, universally inferior to the very rich in every measure. That hubris may lead to their undoing, maybe not next week or even next year, but the system created by the very rich to control the peasantry seems to be unraveling. In the past it was true that history was written by the victors. Until just a few years ago, for example, Israel could deflect the world’s attention from the genocidal brutality it inflicts upon its native Palestinian population by pointing to the occasional bottle rocket lobbed at it by Hamas, creating cover under which the Israeli Defense Force could invade Gaza and murder Palestinians by the thousands— “mow the grass,” to use Israel’s euphemism for its genocide by a thousand cuts—all in the name of “self-defense.”
Then an unexpected thing happened; the ruling elite started losing control of the narrative. The internet and social media, tools introduced to spy on the peasantry and increase control over us, inadvertently began to decrease the impact of the ruling elite’s propaganda. The internet became a tool with which the peasantry could communicate information without going through the filter of corporate media. What we now call “social media” gave the peasantry tools for instant worldwide communication that had previously been unimaginable. In 1997 we had the first recognized modern social media site, Six Degrees, which in turn spawned a host of social media sites. Today Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are used by billions of people. Initially the ruling elite had no response for these new communications tools. They never expected peasants to broadcast real-time videos of IDF snipers murdering Palestinian children for sport, then high-fiving one another afterwards, but many members of the peasantry did just that.
As communications outside the filter of corporate media increased, the ruling elite’s propaganda became less effective. Large numbers of people lost interest in mainstream news, especially younger people. The median age of people still getting their information from television news in the United States is approaching 70, which, given the decreasing lifespan of the average U.S. citizen, is practically dead. Younger people are getting information from non-corporate sources on social media, bypassing the filter provided by the ruling elite’s corporate media. In the past the ruling elite blocked any information of which it didn’t approve such as reporting on Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinians from being broadcast over U.S. corporate media, effectively preventing most Americans from knowing of the atrocities that Israel was inflicting on the Palestinians. When people began communicating via social media rather than swallowing corporate propaganda, that began to change.
The failure of the ruling elite to anoint Hillary Clinton president illustrated just how drastically social media had diminished the effect of its propaganda. In an attempt to regain control of the narrative, the ruling elite resorted to Draconian censorship. The first high-profile attempt to censor a major internet source came when Facebook and YouTube banned Alex Jones’ Infowars. Corporate media officially classified Jones as a “conspiracy theorist,” a term that apparently describes a large man shouting. In August, both Twitter and Facebook banned Jones for “violating community standards.”
Many people who didn’t like Jones’ bombast welcomed the ban, but more astute observers feared it would set a precedent for increased censorship. Those fears soon proved well-founded when the news service teleSUR had its English page, which had nearly 400,000 followers, unpublished on Facebook.
The ruling elite tasked the corporate-funded think tank the Atlantic Council with running the Ministry of Truth, which would be in charge of censoring social media.
“When private corporations that control Google, Twitter, and Facebook, along with the government that is under control of corporate capitalism, can determine the range and content of information you are exposed to,” Ajamu Baraka tweeted, “there is a term for that: totalitarianism.” The Ministry of Truth soon proved Baraka correct. In early October Facebook announced that it was removing more than 800 pages from its platform because of some vague “inauthentic behavior” that it claimed involved using “sensational political content—regardless of its political slant—to build an audience and drive traffic to their websites.” In reality the pages, mostly progressive-leaning independent media sites like The Free Thought Project, Antimedia, Cop Block, and Police the Police, were removed for publishing content that wasn’t sanctioned by the Ministry of Truth. Twitter followed suit, banning many of the same sources deleted by Facebook.
On the night before the 2018 midterm elections Facebook blocked 115 accounts, claiming they’d committed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.” As to what constitutes such behavior, Facebook only said that the accounts “may be linked to foreign entities.” A meaningless charge, but it sounded vaguely nefarious.
The ruling elite seems to be just getting started in its efforts to regain control of the narrative. Whether its blatant attempts at censorship will put the social media toothpaste back in the tube and stifle the spread of information not approved of by Ministry of Truth remains to be seen, but one thing is certain; the ruling elite resorting to such heavy-handed tactics for controlling the peasantry indicates a high level of desperation on their part.
Maybe the very rich should be worried about an awakening peasantry. Margaret Mead advised us not to underestimate the power of a small group of dedicated people to affect change. Research shows that this small group needs to be comprised of just ten percent of the population. Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, have found that when ten percent of the population starts to awaken from their delusions, their reality will be adopted by the majority of society. “When the number of committed opinion holders is below ten percent, there is no visible progress in the spread of ideas,” said Boleslaw Szymanski, director of the Institute’s Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center. “Once that number grows above ten percent, the idea spreads like flame.” The number of us who have awaken might not be at ten percent yet, but we’re getting close enough to scare the duck butter out of the ruling elite.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
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Things to ponder
While our media prostitutes, many Hollywood celebs, and politicians and opinion shapers make so much noise about the still to be demonstrated damage done by the Russkies to our nonexistent democracy, this is what the sanctimonious US government has done overseas just since the close of World War 2. And this is what we know about. Many other misdeeds are yet to be revealed or documented.
Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found
In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all.— Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report
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